What word best describes the skyline—or skylines—of Atlanta?
Varied? Captivating? Amorphous? Architectural? Scattershot? Nonsensical? All of those descriptions would probably apply. One that doesn’t: insignificant.
Because it’s still an adolescent metropolis, Atlanta’s high-rises might lack the cohesive oomph of Chicago and Manhattan. But it’s tough to argue the Big Peach’s growing skyscraper collection doesn’t constitute one of America’s great cityscapes.
For this installment of Visual Journeys, we had no other objective than to travel around Atlanta, fire up the drone, and capture the skyline from as many compelling angles as time (and traffic) would allow.
We begin high above Piedmont Park in Midtown, over the main meadow where musicians—Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars, Pearl Jam, Drake, Dave Mathews Band, The Eagles, Foo Fighters, and Lenny Kravitz, among others—have drawn massive crowds in recent years. Music Midtown will again place four stages in the green spaces shown here for the eighth incarnation of the reborn festival next month.
This vantage, from above Atlanta Memorial Park, shows the expanding Piedmont Hospital campus on Peachtree Road and the geometrical stance of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as viewers from the north and west might see it:
From above Capitol Gateway Park, we see the actual Georgia State Capitol building on the left and a long crescent of sky-rises, bending off to Buckhead.
The flip-side of the above vantage point, from the skies over Chastain Park, shows central Buckhead bending back toward downtown—and why the “City in a Forest” moniker still applies.
The view (below) is from another location in Buckhead’s Chastain Park. At nearly 270 acres, it’s Atlanta’s largest public park, besting Piedmont by about 100 acres.
You might say this view (below) of Midtown and downtown—from the vicinity of West Peachtree and Peachtree streets, near SCAD Atlanta—lends some credence to a less commonly used Atlanta nickname: “Empire City of the South.”
Colony Square (at left, below) was a giant among low-rise, residential Midtown when it started debuting in the late 1960s.
As this view above Yonah Park illustrates, times have changed.
Where Piedmont Park meets the eastern fringes of Midtown, these blocks have seen the rise of high-rise apartments by the hundreds in recent years, with hundreds more under construction.
Here’s a look at Grady Memorial Hospital and, to the right, the stair-stepped, 52-story Georgia-Pacific Tower.
Clad in pink granite, the skyscraper finished construction in the early 1980s on the site of Atlanta’s Loew’s Grand Theatre, where the 1939 premiere for Gone with the Wind was held. It withstood the tornado that swept through downtown a decade ago, though a few windows were blown out.
Here, we hover over the main playground of Chastain Park, looking on a cloudy morning back toward the heart of Atlanta.
Our last stop brings us beyond Atlanta proper to the skyline of the Perimeter subdistrict.
Standing more than 550 feet each, the iconic main towers of Concourse Corporate Center in Sandy Springs—dubbed the King (at right, below) and Queen for their crowns—are among the tallest buildings in any American suburb.
Between them is the skyline of Buckhead, with Midtown in the hazy distance beyond.